Puppies with ticks

Sometimes it’s difficult to put into words the struggles of the stray dogs I encounter, especially when it comes to stray puppies.

The Rescue Team and I found this brother and sister, just weeks old, near a garbage dump. The pups were trembling with fear as we approached them, but they did not move. At first, we thought that they were so terrified of us that they froze and didn’t know what to do, but as we got closer we noticed that they were trying to run away but their hind legs wouldn’t move.

We inspected them carefully, trying to cause them as little worry as possible, and we discovered that they were covered in ticks. We immediately feared the worst: Tick paralysis.

Our veterinarian confirmed that these pups were suffering from tick paralysis. Knowing that tick paralysis can be fatal, we all prayed that these pups will pull through.

I try so hard not to torment myself with mental images of their suffering, but somehow, I just feel inhuman if I don’t. I can see these two poor souls as the only survivors of their litter, and their mother dying from giving birth, as most stray mothers do.

Now, these two defenseless newborns must have cried for days for their mother and siblings. They must have cried for someone to feed them until the hunger finally forced them to abandon the remains of their family and search for their own food. What did they eat? Where did they find water? How long were they paralyzed?

Just imagine, they were starving for weeks and during all that time they were infested with a scary amount of ticks that were not only causing them discomfort, they were feeding on their starved bodies and depriving them of what little nutrients they had left.

Rather than grow strong and healthy, this brother and sister grew weak and sick until one day they couldn’t walk anymore. It’s a miracle that we found them together. It’s like they knew that they couldn’t become separated because they needed each other every second of every day. They felt they were getting sick and chose to remain inseparable…that if they were going to perish, they were going to do it together.

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There is little chance for a newborn stray dog to live more than 30 days. Their defenses are so fragile and undeveloped that any infection is fatal to them.

This brother and sister are lucky to be alive today. Tick paralysis is a rare but serious condition caused by a neurotoxin produced in the salivary gland of female ticks released into the host’s bloodstream while they’re attached and feeding. The primary treatment is to promptly remove the tick, which our vet has done. Once the ticks are removed, most dogs begin to recover their muscle strength within hours and completely recover within 3 days.

These pups have had all their ticks removed and are regaining their muscle strength.  However, because of their age, we are praying these pups haven’t suffered irreversible damage to their health. We are carefully monitoring for any signs of respiratory distress and remain on standby for a quick response.

Please find it in your heart to help them!